Shimano Alfine 11 and mishifts
I recently fitted a Shimano Alfine 11 speed hub system to my hybrid for road use with 26" wheels. I was wondering what experiences other people have had with the system. I use a 32t chainring and the chain line is perfect. I use the Shimano 'single wheel' chain tensioner.
Firstly, after an initial announcement, it was about two years before Alfine 11 became officially available - were they working on solving niggling, lingering 'issues' with the system..
Anyway, the system generally works 'ok', but it is not without its foibles and idiosyncracies. I'm talking about mishifts, delayed shifts, non-shifts, drop backs and crunches. These don't happen 'all the time', but in a twenty mile ride I would expect to get at LEAST four or five issues like these.
I am currently considering changing the cable supplied (the normal cheapo Shimano one) to a an XTR grade coated slippery one and associated outer. Has anyone done that and found improved results? My current cable is well lubricated, I know what I'm doing in this respect having owned, raced and built bikes for over 45 years.
Also, re the expandable rubber gator that sits at the end of the outer cable by the hub, it has a circular 'grip clip' at the end, and this clip has been compressed to an eliptical shape so that it applies a degree of grip on to the inner cable. What's that all about? I'm thinking it could be adversely affecting shifts a little by putting a bit of delay in the system - or maybe that's what it's trying to do - dunno. So why is this clip 'crushed' on to the inner cable?! Is it a Shimano retro mod?
By the way, my two 'yellow lines' are lined up perfectly, so no issues there.
One more point, the mishifts seem to happen more so when pedalling under higher load conditions - though I stress, nothing major like standing on the pedals. Whilst I can understand, and to SOME extent accept that this is the case, let's face it, you cannot always change gear when pedalling pressure is low, especially when climbing and you have to make your way down through the gears, there's nothing you can do about it, and crunched or missed changes are not acceptable. I've tried different ways of operating the lever; quickly, slower etc - no better.
All in all I love not having to bother about a front mech, the ability to 'just change gear' without having to really think about it, but those mishifts are not acceptable in my opinion. The odd one would be ok, but to have four or five during every short ride is not really up to scratch in my opinion.
So, how has your Alfine 11 performed? faultless? perfect changes every time? a little 'hit and miss' like mine?
i can not imagine there are to many alfine 11 users around, especially those with fixes, good info might be hard to come by. maybe some problems have filtered back to shimano and they might be sitting on the answers you need. did you try to contact them?
The priority is to first of all get meaningful feedback from 'real' people who have tried the system, not the corporate BS from Shimano, which I can do without. But anyway, you dont think there are many Alfine 11 users around? So what facts - or even hypothesis - make you say that, please? FYI, the Alfine 11 system cannot be used with a fixed wheel, never mind "especially", I mean, AT ALL.
Originally Posted by dr1445
i would site the lack of commercially available bikes and the short release time for the hub as reasons for a small data base.
I have been getting what little info I can from mtbr forums. http://forums.mtbr.com/internal-gear...-a-786497.html
I have 2 nexus 8 speeds and a alfine 8 speed and been trying to decide about installing a 11 speed on my Trek Sawyer. No issues with the 8s but there seems to be a percentage of 11 users that get the lemons.
There's a thread on this same issue with another poster who had his returned only to get the same issues with the new hub. It seems Shimano released the hub too soon without doing an estensive test on many frames. The hub has been on the market for over a year and Shimano did not resolve this issue. It seems every 3 or 6 months, someone discovers the same problems.
After three years, I've decided to remove Alfine 11 and go back to derailleurs. The Alfine 11 has generally served me well, but overall some of its negative points - as far as I am concerned - outway its advantages. I thought you'd like my feedback?
'For' Alfine 11:
*No front derailleur to bother with.
*Simple, uncluttered appearance
*Ability to change gears whilst stationery
*No rear derailleur to get broken
*Fewer parts to wear out and maintain
'Against' Alfine 11:
*Limited gear range - you have to decide to bias your setup (chainring) towards higher or lower gears - there's no one answer for someone who cycles in mixed terrain.
*You have to 'back off' with pedalling pressure when climbing to enable a gear change to be made. Not always desirable as you lose even more momentum.
*Spurious mis-shifts even when the system is set up properly.
*Idiosyncrasies between how (well) different gears change.
*Unless you have horizontal dropouts, you need some kind of chain tensioning device, either a rear chain tensioner, or an eccentric BB. In the case of the former, I was trying to move away from such 'clutter' and the case of the latter I found that it just keeps coming loose even when set up using manufacturer torques etc. (I am an experienced bike mechanic).
*Weight, that hub is a heavy beast.
*Ease of repairing a rear wheel puncture is much more troublesome than with a Q/R derailleur system. You need to carry a large spanner for the wheel nuts and you have to remove/unhook the greasy cable etc. It's a messy, balls aching job.
*Servicing the rear hub is not for the faint hearted. It's quite a long and complicated job that has to be undertaken with precision and care and the use of special tools.
*Replacement oil is VERY expensive.
My conclusion? If you are using Alfine 11 for fairly undemanding touring or 'around town' use where you're unlikely to get a puncture, it's fine.
I'm not the sort of person to rigidly stick with a product or system having changed to it if I'm not, overall, happy with it. If Shimano could increase it to 14 gears - as is Rohloff, reduce weight from that hub, and make removing the wheel and operating cable easier, that would be a great improvement, though by no means a total 'cure' for my 'against' list above. BTW, I won't go into it now, but Rohloff would not be for me for various reasons, ONE of which is twist grip.
I have a Raleigh Cadent with the 11-speed Alfine. I experience occasional miss-shifts. When climbing it will sometimes slip into a different gear, and when I shift going down my hill it seems to take a few shifts to settle down. Neither problem is a deal-killer for me, rather it's something I've learned to expect.
One suggestion is to check your alignment marks. If you shift to gear 6 you can see if your internal gears are aligned. Here is a Sheldon Brown article on the topic:
Shimano Nexus/Alfine 3, 4-, 7-, 8-, and 11-Speed Technical Information